Lemon Asparagus Chicken

servings: 4  

 calories: 350  

 prep time: 20 minutes 
 
ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can condensed cream of asparagus soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

preparation instructions:

  1. In medium pan over medium-high heat, heat oil.
  2. Add chicken and cook 8 minutes or until browned.
  3. Set chicken aside.
  4. Pour off fat.
  5. Add soup, milk, lemon juice and pepper.
  6. Heat to a boil.
  7. Return chicken to pan.
  8. Reduce heat to low.
  9. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

suggested side dishes:

  • Side salad
  • Rice

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The Strongest Person I Know

In a few short weeks I will be making the trip up to Montana to visit my grandparents. I’ll be traveling on my own, but I will be meeting up with my parents once I get up there. It’ll be nice to spend some time with my family and Montana is gorgeous in September, but I’m more excited to see my grandma Marilyn.

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Earlier this year my grandma was diagnosed with a rare form of Cancer; Peritoneal Cancer. The peritoneum is the membrane that forms the lining of the abdomen. It covers the uterus, bladder, and rectum and produces a fluid that helps organs move smoothly inside the abdomen.  Because the peritoneum is composed of lymph and blood, the cancer can spread rapidly and travel to other vital organs.

For years my grandma has experienced discomfort and an upset stomach that just wouldn’t let up. Finally a blood test confirmed there was high levels of a chemical linked to gynecologic cancers. She has had surgery to remove tumors and a series of chemotherapy to help prevent the cancer from progressing. Because the cancer is so rare, they do not have a prognosis and there is no cure. All they can do is wait and keep checking the progression of the cancer.

As a family, through all of this, we have been emotional roller coasters, but I am 100% in support of her and her decisions. She is the strongest person I know. She has accepted this diagnosis and continues to live her life each day. Her and I are in complete agreement that it’s the quality of life and not the quantity that matters and she would like to continue living it without the hardships of chemotherapy. I hope she finds some solace that I am on her side and am being selfless in my decision to support her. She has always been a role model in my life and much of who I am comes from her. The only words that come to mind when I think of her are vibrant, laughter, peace, love and tolerance. She has always called me her angel, but in reality, she is my angel. She is an all-knowing presence in my life and a spiritual center.

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This trip is so much more than a vacation. It will be an important opportunity to take advantage of our time together as a family. I will continue to keep positive and keep her in my prayers. I have always believed in the power of positive thought so I ask that anyone who comes across this post will send positive thoughts and prayers to my grandma and her continuing battle. I am so very thankful I will have the chance to hug and kiss her soon.

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Tropical Mahi Mahi

servings: 4 

calories: 300  

prep time: 20 minutes 
 
ingredients:
  • cooking spray
  • 2 mahi mahi fillets
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks; drained and juice reserved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

preparation instructions:

  1. Spray large pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cook banana 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°.
  4. Cut fish fillets into serving size portions.
  5. season fillets with salt and pepper.
  6. In bowl, mix pineapple, stock, pineapple juice, coconut milk, allspice and nutmeg.
  7. Spray an oven proof baking dish with cooking spray.
  8. Place fish in prepared dish, top with banana and pineapple mixture.
  9. Cover with foil and bake 10 to 12 minutes.

suggested side dishes:

  • Fruit salad
  • Rice

Ginger-Peach Pork Medallions

servings: 4  

 calories: 220  

 prep time: 25 minutes 
 
ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1lb), cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large peach, peled, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger or ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

preparation instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle pork with salt and add to pan.
  3. Cook about 4 minutes, turning pork over once, until browned.
  4. Stir in peach slices, brown sugar and ginger.
  5. Cook 2 minutes, stirring once or twice, until peach slices are tender.
  6. In a small bowl, mix broth and cornstarch; stir into pork and peach mixture.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 2 minutes, stirring once or twice, until thickened.

suggested side dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green beans

Caesar Chicken Paninis

servings: 4

 calories: 500 

 prep time: 30 minutes

ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 french rolls or sourdough bread
  • 1/3 cup Caesar dressing
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce

preparation instructions:

  1. Marinate chicken in Caesar dressing at least 10 minutes.
  2. Spray a large pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook Chicken in pan 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Remove chicken from pan.
  5. Place chicken on bottom half of rolls.
  6. Top with cheese, lettuce and tops of rolls.

suggested side dishes:

  • French fries
  • Potato chips

Lazy Dog Days

Happy Saturday everybody!

I hope it’s as great as ours is so far!

This weekend Andy and I are proud parents of this Monster:
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His name is Montana… but you can call him Monty and he is a french bulldog.

No, he isn’t ours… we are just dog sitting for our good friends Valerie and James. But it gives us some dog love and he keeps us on our toes. He joined us on our weekly walk to Starbucks this morning and made a lot of friends along the way. He is kind of an attention whore!

Now he’s joining Andy and I in rooting on our Eastlake Little League team in the U.S. Championship game!

LETS GO EASTLAKE!!!

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Could this day get any better? Yea, how about my awesome boyfriend bringing home some delicious Manzanita Red AND prepping for our delicious dinner on the grill?!?!?

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Today will be a good one for sure.

Polynesian Chicken

servings: 4  

 calories: 167 

 prep time: 20 minutes

ingredients:

  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 cup seedless or golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

preparation instructions:

  1. Drain pineapple chunks; reserve 4 tablespoons pineapple juice.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice over medium-heat in large nonstick pan.
  3. Add raisins, green onions, and garlic.
  4. Cook and stir 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in pineapple chunks, chicken, soy sauce and remaining 2 tablespoons juice.
  6. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout.

suggested side dishes:

  • Rice
  • Fruit salad
  • Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • Broccoli
  • Water chestnuts

Back to School Season

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It’s that time of year again.  The beginning of the school year. I should probably clarify something before I continue this post:

No, I’m not currently in school nor do I have kids of my own.

So now that is clear, you must be wondering why I am even wasting my time writing about this. Well, unless you are living under a rock or without technology, it would be hard to not be reminded that school is about to begin.
1. The radio and TV is full of ads geared toward being the coolest kid in class for having the best whatever they are selling.

2. Parents relieved that summer is officially over and they can get rid of their kids for 6 hours a day.

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3. Facebook is filled with pictures of kids in backpacks holding their homemade lunches.

4. The malls and stores are filled with kids dragging their parents around to get the newest school supplies, accessories and the latest clothes.

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Don’t get me wrong, I was DEFINITELY that kid growing up. I had an official first day of school picture throughout my grade school years and I always needed a new outfit for the first day back. I had brand new backpack, binders, pens and notebooks. As nerdy as it sounds, to me, it was the best time of the year.

I always get nostalgic during back to school season. These days, the only reasons I can come up with to buy notebooks is to show some character at work or keep around the house to jot notes in. I find myself buying planners that I don’t really need because, lets face it, I don’t have enough going on in my life to have to ‘pencil things in’! Yes, I may not be a student anymore or have kids, but I still fully take advantage of as many “Back to School Sales” as I can because who can turn down a discount?

The truth is I miss school. There was something exhilarating about the first day of classes. Seeing all of your friends, finding out who would be in your classes, all the new faces of people who could potentially end up being your friends,  and looking your best while being completely aware that after a week or two you wont have the time or energy to care anymore! photo a1fd89e5.gif  photo e600ad96.gif

But I think my absolute favorite thing about the beginning of the school year was having something to look forward to and the hope for something new and exciting. That first day you get a syllabus in your hand and you see how the entire year is going to play out and at the same time you are getting your bearings and start to plan socially how the year will be as well. They are both the best and worst times of your life, but school is where your building blocks begin and where you learn so many life lessons with the comfort of a safety net.

I’m not sure if I will have the opportunity to go back to school and get my graduate degree, but one thing I do know is I will always celebrate the “Back to School Season”. I will shop the “Back to School Sales”, continue to purchase planners for no good reason, and one day I will be that parent that counts down the final days of summer for a few hours of peace and freedom the school season will hold. photo funny-kids-back-school-happy.jpg
Until then, I will try to incorporate that feeling of the first day of school into my daily life; with hope and excitement for the future.

Turkey Bacon Avocado Paninis

servings: 6  

 calories: 630 

 prep time: 30 minutes

ingredients:

  • 3/4 thinly sliced cooked turkey
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 avocados
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese

preparation instructions:

  1. In large pan, cook bacon over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown.
  2. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels.
  3. Butter rolls and add to pan until toasted.
  4. Slice avocados.
  5. Spread ranch dressing on both halves of rolls.
  6. Place turkey on bottom half of rolls.
  7. Top with cheese, bacon, avocado and tops of rolls.

suggested side dishes:

  • French fries
  • Potato chips

Chicken & Rice Dinner

servings: 4  

 calories: 350 

 prep time: 15 minutes

ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 11/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 11/2 cups uncooked Minute Original Rice
  • 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen broccoli flowerets

preparation instructions:

  1. In medium pan over medium-high heat, heat oil.
  2. Add chicken and cook 8 minutes or until browned.
  3. Set chicken aside. Pour off fat.
  4. Add soup, water, paprika and pepper.
  5. Heat to a boil.
  6. Stir in rice and broccoli.
  7. Place chicken on rice mixture.
  8. Season chicken with additional paprika and pepper.
  9. Reduce heat to low.
  10. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

suggested side dishes:

  • Side salad